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Home arrow Certified Outlets arrow Recently Certified arrow Kabāth - The Miswāk Tree Fruit
Kabāth - The Miswāk Tree Fruit Print

KabathMuslims are generally aware of the Sunnah of Miswāk, the practice of the Beloved Messenger Muhammad, (Allāh’s salutations and peace be upon him) of using twigs from the Salvadora Persica to clean his teeth. These twigs are generally accessible, and Muslims fulfil this and other Sunan (plural of Sunnah) out of love for the Beloved Messenger and for the immense spiritual rewards one can earn by implementing the Sunnah. Ongoing research also shows medical benefits to using Miswāk. While not the primary motivating factors, such benefits may provide additional encouragement for users.
Less well known is that the Beloved Messenger (Allāh’s salutations and peace be upon him), ate of the fruit of this tree. The fruit is not of the same status as the twig in terms of the Ḥadīth literature, encouragement to use, and any spiritual benefit, nor is it as widely available. Nevertheless, learning about any facet of the Beloved Messenger (Allāh’s salutations and peace be upon him), is a treasure for the believer.

أَنَّ جَابِرَ بْنَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ كُنَّا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَجْنِي الْكَبَاثَ، وَإِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏"‏ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالأَسْوَدِ مِنْهُ، فَإِنَّهُ أَطْيَبُهُ ‏"‏‏.‏ قَالُوا أَكُنْتَ تَرْعَى الْغَنَمَ قَالَ ‏"‏ وَهَلْ مِنْ نَبِيٍّ إِلاَّ وَقَدْ رَعَاهَا ‏"
Jābir bin ʾAbdillāh (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated:
We were with Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh’s salutations and peace be upon him) plucking Kabāth when Allāh’s Messenger (Allāh’s salutations and peace be upon him) said, “You should choose the most black, for that is the sweetest.” They asked, “Did you also herd goats?” He replied, “Was there any prophet except that he herded them?” [al-Bukhārī: Book of Prophets]

Thus we learn that the Beloved Messenger (Allāh’s salutations and peace be upon him) not only ate Kabāth but indicated a preference for the darker, sweeter fruit. His sense of well-wishing unto others extended to advising others on a relatively mundane matter, such as fruit. Preferring certain permitted items, food or otherwise, does not negate the Sunnah or abstention from the material world. It is also implied that Kabāth was a fruit accessible to shepherds and associated with them. 

As per Kew Species Profiles (Royal Botanic Gardens)
General Description
Toothbrush tree is a small, evergreen shrub or tree that grows in hot, dry conditions in parts of Africa, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula. It is valued as a medicinal plant by local people since it contains a number of active compounds that promote good health.

As the common name suggests, small stems and roots are used as chewing sticks or natural toothbrushes and have been shown to reduce tooth decay, plaque and gum disease. Although the flowers are small and inconspicuous, the fruits that follow can be eaten or made into a drink, and the seeds are a valuable source of oil.

Species Profile

Geography and distribution
Salvadora persica is native to the Arabian Peninsula, Africa, western Asia, the Middle East, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Overview: An evergreen shrub or small tree, reaching up to 7 m tall, with many drooping branches.

Leaves: Rounded to ovate, slightly fleshy, about 7 × 3 cm, arranged in opposite pairs.

Flowers: Small, greenish, arranged in loose panicles up to 30 cm long.

Fruits: Fleshy berries about 1 cm in diameter, becoming red-scarlet when ripe. Each contains a single seed.

Other common names
Other common names for this species include: aarak, arak, arrak, arraka, el rak, kabats, shaow, shau, siwak (Arabic); jhal (Bengali); jhak, kharjal (Hindi); msuake, mswaki, musuake (Swahili); kalawa, karkol, perungoli, ughaiputtai, vivay (Tamil).

Uses - Food and drink
Toothbrush tree fruit can be eaten fresh, cooked, dried and stored or made into a fermented drink. The leaves have a bitter, peppery taste and are eaten as a green vegetable or made into a sauce.

Leaves of Salvadora persica are browsed by cattle, sheep, goats and camels, although they are said to make milk taste bad. The flowers are a useful source of nectar for honeybees.
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